Professional Values and Ethics
Foundations for Education and General Success/GEN 200
April 19, 2010
Professional Values and Ethics
Most successful companies will state that their success is directly related to their employees and the way in which they conduct their business. Professional values and ethics are the fruit of what makes a company successful by allowing employees to believe in what they do and customers to trust the service provided. This paper will serve to define what professional values and ethics are, and specifically discuss values and ethics as it relates to the Intel Corporation, Sabanci Group, and General Electric, in addition to how professional values and ethics can impact career success.
Values and Ethics Defined
Values and ethics are words that are heard alone and in combination with each other. Value has multiple meanings, and for the purpose of professional value, we are focusing on the accepted principles or standards of a person or group. Ethics is defined as the system of moral principles governing the appropriate conduct of a person or group. When looking at these definitions one can see why the two are often found together when discussing professional behaviors. Professional values and ethics define how a person or group focuses on conducting themselves on accepted principles or standards in a moral way. By using three large U.S. companies, one can discuss their specific values and ethics.
Intel Corporation was founded on July 18, 1968 and manufactures motherboard chip sets, network interface controllers, integrated circuits, flash memories, graphic chips, embedded processors, and microprocessors.
Paul S Otellini, president and CEO of Intel Corporation, expresses boldly why his company is still going strong today. "Our business success has always depended on our ability to build trusting relationships â€“ with one another, customers, suppliers, governments and communities. But, trusted relationships don't happen overnight. They're built over time, on the integrity of every decision we make, every expectation we set, and every action we take. Everything we do, big or small, can have a big and lasting impact."
Intel believes their success can be attributed to their compass: their mission, their set of shared values, and their Intel Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct represents Intel's expectations of what it means to act ethically and within the boundaries of the law.
The Intel Code is the standard of conduct that unites them, strengthens and allows them to continuously deliver value and build trust year after year. "Integrity beyond reproach is our commitment, our foundation, and our future" according to Ostellini.
Intel's Code of Conduct follows these five principles:
â€¢ Intel Conducts Business with Honesty and Integrity
â€¢ Intel follows the Letter and Spirit of Law
â€¢ Intel Employees Treat Each Other Fairly
â€¢Intel Employees Act in the best of interest of Intel and Avoid conflicts of interest
â€¢ Intel Employees Protects the company's assets and reputation.
Intel has 22 pages of guiding principles, policies and governance structures that ensure Intel continues to be recognized as a leader in corporate governance and business ethics.
"The Sabanci Holding group has been in operation since 1967 and is the largest privately owned share holders in Turkey" according to Sabanci Holdings. (Sabanci Holdings, 2010). The company formed to allow the Sabanci family to operate in an international capacity. The family wanted to keep its founding ideas resulting in the need for a business code of conduct. These guidelines were to be used throughout the company and in everyday life.
The guidelines have a basic five step program. First, determine the issue or problem. Second, think before one decides. Third, decide upon an action plan. Fourth, test one's decision. Fifth, proceed with the resolution." Each step is accompanied with the appropriate questions that must be asked to proceed to the next step", according to the Sabanci Group. (Sabanci Holdings, 2010).
Upon the completion of the five step program, the Sabanci Holding Group also provides a questioning process that each individual should ask themselves before rendering a final decision.
General Electric (GE) is one of the largest and most diversified public-traded companies in the American business world. GE makes a wide range of different products, from kitchen appliances to industrial tools to health care products. Specifically when GE is marketing and selling healthcare products, business values and ethics have a major impact. GE is able to analyze and respond to business ethics situations as they arise in today's global marketplace because of a well-organized and thought out source of ethics and values.
As stated from General Electric (2010), "GE has a social and ethical responsibility to adhere to the rule of law in the countries where our products are used, and address the negative implications of product misuse by customers," (Promoting Ethical Product Use, para. 1). GE draws from their structure of company values and ethics to respond to such situations. For example, in India, GE's ultrasound products are used to find the sex of an unborn child, and female fetuses are subsequently aborted because of cultural circumstances. The Indian government passed a law in 1994 to prohibit the use of any technology to ascertain the sex of an unborn child prior to birth, and GE has backed this legislation, although it could potentially have an impact on the sales and profitability of GE's medical products in this country (General Electric, 2010).
The above-mentioned example shows that GE places ethics above revenue, and it also leads to a demonstration of the company's values. GE does not promote the dominant Indian cultural bias that women are inferior to men, and implements additional controls to help prevent female feticide through use of its ultrasound products. GE started a poster campaign to raise awareness of the issue of female feticide, placed additional documentation and tracking controls of their ultrasound products, and per General Electric (2010), is "sponsoring a young, female, Indian tennis star who can set a positive example for a more progressive role for women in Indian society," (Raising Public Awareness of Female Feticide, para. 1).
Values and Ethics Impact on Career Success
Career success is often influenced by choices and individual makes in their career. By adhering to personal values, in addition to professional values, one will find success. Some careers find individuals working independently without close supervision. In this type of situation, an employee must value themselves, and the company, by performing their duties ethically as if they were being directly supervised. If an employer can trust its own employees they will become valued to the company.
Another example of career success as a result of values and ethics would be how an individual conducts themselves in daily interactions with others. Employees who show that they are engaged within the organization are more likely to be promoted those who do not.
Whether referring to a company or an individual, values and ethics set the foundation for how they will conduct themselves, their company, and their customers. A strong sense of values and ethics will promote success in almost any situation.
General Electric. (2010). GE Citizenship. Retrieved on April 17, 2010 from
Intel Corporation. (2010). Corporate Governance and Ethics. Retrieved on April 17,
2010 from http://www.intel.com/intel/corpresponsibility/governance.htm?iid=intel_corp+body_governance
Sabanci. (2010). Retrieved on April 17, 2010